Titan Martyrs, final adventure in science fiction dystopian trilogy
Posted by Kris Neri, with the Femmes Fatales
Today the Femmes welcome science fiction author, Kate Rauner. Kate stopped by to chat with us about her new book, Titan Martyrs. Kate, let's chat...
Q: Hi Kate and welcome to the Femme Fatales
A: Good to be with you.
Q: I understand the first book of your trilogy created some excitement.
A: Yes, I was thrilled when Titan was selected as a finalist in the 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the ebook category. The story continued in Titan Insurgents and now concludes with Titan Martyrs.
Q: A new release is always exciting, especially when you're winding up a trilogy. What's your story about?
A: It's the dystopian tale of a brother and sister raised in a secretive cult called the Kin. Fynn, my protagonist, thought he'd escaped until he was kidnapped to the cult's spaceship and forced to join their plan to create utopia on Saturn's moon, Titan. But things go terribly wrong and the group devolves into warring factions. Battered by the conflict, Fynn struggles to maintain the colony's fragile life support, while his sister, Maliah, creates a strange vision of the Kin's destiny. As madness overwhelms her, she clashes with Fynn. In the final book, you'll discover whose vision of the Kin's future triumphs.
Q: What inspired you to write about Titan?
A: I read a lot of non-fiction, and I've seen articles suggesting Titan as the best place in our solar system for a human colony. When I researched the moon, I thought, What a terrible place! Who would want to live on Titan? And what would happen to them? I knew I had to write a story to answer my questions.
Q: What's it like to publish a book?
A: I never approached a traditional publisher. I was impatient to discover what readers think of my efforts, and I learn by doing, so I went straight to independent publishing, which is very easy and very hard. Easy, because platforms like Amazon and Smashwords allow you to release a book for the cost of your own labor, and hard because you're on your own competing with millions of books.
Q: Is Titan the sort of book you read as a child?
A: I read practically anything. Of course, I read science fiction, including old masters like Asimov and Heinlein. A math teacher in high school gave me a copy of Abbot's Flatland. Fascinating.
In New York State, where I grew up, we had a huge anthology for high school English. My teachers only covered a fraction of the book in class, but I read all the way through that tome. I read a lot of non-fiction too, especially in science, plus whatever magazines I found at home. I was a pretty eclectic reader and still am.
Q: What got you interested in writing?
A: In my engineering career, I wrote a lot of technical reports, and I really had to get over that style to write fiction. I took a couple adult education classes in creative writing, but they never seemed to click for me.
After I retired, a friend sort of tricked me into writing fiction. He authored a novel with his grandkids for fun, asked me to help edit it, and encouraged me to try writing my own story. Oh my, what a mess that first attempt was. But he helped me sort it out into a coherent story. I released it, and a few readers told me they liked it. It wasn't terrible! And I thought I could do better. That's my goal: to get better with every book.
A: My first concern was plot. How could I come up with enough stuff happening that made sense in the reality-science-fiction world I wanted to explore. I've found a lot of books and websites that explain the structure of good stories, and that helps me organize my plot. But I also learned how my mind works. I need to write a block of the story before I can see the next part clearly.
Once I stopped worrying so much about plot, I learned how to pay attention to my characters and how they interact, and I realized the story is truly about them no matter what deadly planet I plop them down on.
Perhaps the most important thing I learned was that I need feedback, and I've been blessed with people willing to read my drafts and offer honest comments.
Q: What's next?
A: I'm planning a trilogy on the Moon. My Titan series was dystopian, so I think I'd like to try something lighter. I know who my hero is: Winnie Bravo, space pilot extraordinaire for Orbital Services, LLC.
Q: Good luck to you and Winnie.
A: Thanks. Pleasure to chat with you, Kris.
Kate Rauner writes science fiction novels and science-inspired poetry, and she serves as a volunteer firefighter. She’s also a retired engineer and Cold War Warrior ("Honestly," she reports, "the United States Congress said so.") because she worked in America’s nuclear weapons complex.
Now living on the edge of the Gila National Forest in Southwestern New Mexico, Kate says she's well on her way to achieving her life-goal: to become an eccentric old woman.
Titan Martyrs is available in paperback, and the Kindle edition has just been released today, August 7, 2020. Find the trilogy here on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and Kindle Unlimited, or search Amazon for Titan by Kate.